A Guide to the Ballot of 2014

i-voted-stickerThe time has come to cast the ballot, to take part in the democratic process and let your voice be heard.  Interestingly, the “undecideds” generally wait the longest to cast ballots, I suppose that’s why they’re called Undecideds.  The ideological political junkies are not to be swayed by the last minute attack ads and tend to vote early.

Here is my assessment and recommendations for the statewide races and propositions/amendments in both California and Colorado, where the majority of my readership will cast ballots.  There are also local issues in each electorate.  Read those thoroughly and make informed decisions.  Remember that party trumps person, particularly in legislative races and reflect on the proper role of government when voting on the propositions/amendments.

State names link to Ballotopedia for more election info

CALIFORNIA

Governor- Neel Kashkari

NO on Proposition 1– $7.12 billion bond for California’s water system

– Expands the debt of California, encouraging the further fiscal profligacy of elected officials.  The proverbial “we must do something” action of politicians

YES on Proposition 2– Increase amount of potential savings in the state ‘rainy day’ fund from 5% to 10% of the General Fund

– Encourages fiscal responsibility and accountability.  Supported by both Reps and Dems of California.

NO on Proposition 45– Public notice required for insurance company rates initiative

– Leads us further down the road to a single-payer, government run health care system.  This places a further burden of health care changes and costs onto insurance companies and consumers

NO on Proposition 46– Increase the cap on damages that can be assessed in medical negligence lawsuits to over $1 million

– Will increase health care costs while encouraging even more frivolous lawsuits.  Parts of this prop could work well but taken as a whole it is no good

NO on Proposition 47-Reduces the classification of most nonviolent crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor

– Basically, reducing the penalty for any crime is not going to deter anyone from committing criminal acts.  This is not the solution to the burden of incarceration

NO on Proposition 48-Ratification of gaming compacts with the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians and the Wiyot Tribe

– Personally I do not cherish the idea of more casinos, I don’t frequent them.  However, this ‘NO’ vote is a vote against the continued partnership between business and government that has become a virulent relationship, detrimental to a vibrant economy.  Admittedly, this is more symbolic than anything else.

COLORADO

Governor- Bob Beauprez

U.S. Senate -Cory Gardner

NO on Amendment 67-Recognizes unborn children as persons in the Colorado Criminal Code and Colorado Wrongful Death Act

While I do believe in certain limitations to a woman’s “right to choose”, this amendment, which has seen it’s place on the ballot before, attempts too much

NO on Amendment 68-Establishes a K-12 education fund to be funded by expanded limited gaming at horse racetracks

– Everyone wants to help the kids.  However, any funds set aside for education primarily go to fund personnel costs which in turn help the teachers union.  Until that monopoly in public schools is abolished, this would simply be throwing good money after bad

YES on Proposition 104-Requires open school board meetings for collective bargaining negotiations

– This option will aid the public to limit the power of the teachers union.

NO on Proposition 105-Mandates labeling of certain foodstuffs that contain genetically modified organisms

– The price of food will needlessly increase.  GMOs are the modern day DDT.  Safe for consumption.

Go Vote!

The Campaign Trail

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Less than two weeks out, the political atmosphere is as squalid as the back room of a strip joint in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve.  The tension is palpable with both major parties attempting to grasp the reins and steer the country during the last years of the degenerating Obama administration.  Spokes-persons for each party have made competing, unequivocal claims and when the cloud of murk subsides, the elusive governing power will rest in the hands one or the other.

“I think it is far more likely than not that we will retake the Senate,”- Sen. Ted Cruz

“We are going to hold the Senate,” – Debbie Wassermann Schultz, leader of the Democratic National Party.

The forecasting falsities of Miss Cleo hold not a torch to the false bravado of political prophesiers like Miss Wassermann Schultz.  Mr. Cruz, while speaking to probability not certainty,  is certainly boosting the hopes of his republican base.  But boastful claims are not the extent of the malignity of this political atmosphere.  The depths of that swamp could swallow the Titanic with a chaser of Lusitania.

Here are my favorite claims that have arisen during the past few weeks (all headings link to stories):

Republicans For Ebola

“Never let a serious crisis go to waste,” – ex-chief-of-staff Rahm Emmanuel

Nothing says campaign season like the condemnation of one’s opponent for the spread of a deadly virus.  Democratic strategists decided to blame Republicans for a lack of funding at the CDC.  This claim has been utterly dismantled by the Washington Post fact checkers and rated 4 Pinocchios, ranking the Dems with the lyingest liars to ever lie.

Republicans on the other hand have made repeated attempts to connect the disease to the poor governance of the Obama administration.  While you cannot blame Obama for Ebola, there is still much to criticize regarding the response: travel bans, or lack thereof, and an Ebola czar who is a political spinmeister.

The Conscienceless Handicapped

Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis went after her opponent Greg Abbott for his lack of sympathy for others who share his condition.  He received money from a settlement after he was injured and now requires a wheelchair.  Supposedly he has worked to limit the amount people may receive from similar settlements while the Attorney General of Texas.  Seems to me that the wheelchair criticism should be no man’s land.  However, in her defense, she has stuck to her critical ads and there is some merit to the criticism of hypocrisy, if it is indeed a valid criticism.

NAACP 

Judicial Watch, a right-of-center political watchdog group has found that:

“According to a letter from a lawyer for the State of North Carolina to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a speaker at a recent NAACP conference in North Carolina urged audience members to mislead the NAACP’s own members into believing they do not need to register to vote in advance, or that they do not need to vote at their assigned polling place. Why?  The letter alleges: To create confusion and animosity during the upcoming mid-term elections in North Carolina, and to use the evidence of that confusion in the ongoing litigation between Eric Holder’s Justice Department and North Carolina and to show that North Carolina’s election integrity laws are discriminatory.”

This is right in line with Rule 138 of the canon of modern progressive politics:

If discrimination, prejudice and racism do not, in fact, exist… Make it up

Impeachment and/or Lynching (Pictured at top)

In North Carolina, a flyer forecasting the loss of Democratic candidate Kay Hagan went on to predict the impeachment of President Obama.  Oh, and in the background the flyer used a dated, blurry picture of a mob lynching a black man.  Nice.

Cook-ing Up Some Voter Fraud

Right off the bat, state-of-the-art electronic voting machines in Cook County were already demonstrating their liberal bias.  Votes cast for Republicans were being automatically changed to votes for Democrats.  My favorite anecdote of this situation is when state representative Jim Moynihan tried to vote for himself and found he had cast a vote for his opponent.

While these evil shenanigans may be business as usual in Chicago, in Colorado voter fraud is still a fledgling enterprise.  In CO, where mail-in ballots are the standard, Democratic supporters are advocating for the improper and illegal use of unused ballots:

…and Obama Can’t Shut Up

In the midst of the heated rhetoric, the commander-in-chief, with all his supposed political savvy, just could not leave well enough alone.

(on Democrats who DO NOT want to be connected to Obama)- “The bottom line is, though, these are are all folks who vote with me; they have supported my agenda in Congress.”

Even if this is true, why say it and risk the political backlash when your approval numbers rival those of W (not in a good way)??

I agree with the assessment of Charles Krauthammer.  Barack Obama cannot believe that he is being cast aside.  Outside of Gwyneth Paltrow’s home, he is no longer the rockstar deity, No-Drama-Obama, who exerts cool and provokes helpless fawning by the masses while compelling the oceans to recede.  He is a wavering president, racked by his own inaction, whose gravitas no longer causes Americans to gravitate to his presence.  This man, who has been worshipped by sycophants and praised by mentors, is being left home on a Friday night and his ego just can’t take it.

Almost there.  In a couple weeks, no more ads.  As a side note: one of the nice things about living in occupied LA county is that the progressive forces are so dominant that no ad money is spent here.  Gotta find the silver lining.  It is also very easy to become cynical towards the process, disenchanted with our country and lose all hope for the future.

I provide these examples both to inform as well as counter such a bleak outlook by offering some semblance of a brighter tomorrow.  At this point, these actions taken by progressives demonstrate a certain level of desperation.  Progressivism cannot win on its own merits as it fails time and again. (See: war on poverty, Obamacare rollout)  Sometimes the zeitgeist favors a voter-swing to the left and not much else is needed to win other than, “We’re not George W. Bush!”  However, six years later, that dog just don’t hunt.  These stories display the progressive candidates and their supportive groups in their true colors.  Voters can see that truth and will answer with their ballots.

Vote!

As it is easy to criticize, not easy to live, I will put myself into the arena  and make some predictions about the races of this election cycle:

– Republicans keep control of the House

– Jerry Brown, aka Governor Moonbeam, remains at the helm of the executive in California, Andrew Cuomo in New York

– Bob Beauprez will defeat incumbent John Hickenlooper to become governor of Colorado

– Senator Mark Udall will lose his seat to Cory Gardner

– Republicans will win enough senate seats to gain a majority, not enough to make it filibuster-proof

Party Trumps Person

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In just two short weeks, we enjoy a brief reprieve from the campaign promises and propaganda, the quiet time between the mid-terms and the upcoming presidential election will be here again.  After the dust settles from another election cycle, a new congress will take control in Washington.  The specific personalities who have been littering your television and radio waves will fade into the mass that will become the next congress.  The winners, either a Democrat or a Republican to be sure, will become one of one hundred senators or one of four hundred thirty five representatives.  The power of the parties will take effect.  Therefore, informed voters must take party affiliation into account when electing a candidate.  In fact, the reality is, in most cases concerning congressional candidates, the party of a candidate trumps the individual personality of a candidate.

The reality of the political process is that every candidate of either party is beholden to the party at large and limited in their ability to implement policy changes.

For example: voters will often make decisions based upon a single issue such as abortion.  Regardless of the beliefs of a newly elected senator or congressman, pro-life or pro-choice, abortion is legal, albeit with certain restrictions; it will remain legal, still with certain restrictions.  Neither party will change this policy in spite of the views of some of its members.  Any claims to the contrary are examples of the exploitation of the ignorance of voters, transforming their lack of understanding into fear of one party or the other

The concept of voting based upon political party rather than on the specific candidate is one that most voters will instinctively dismiss as corruptive rhetoric, an example of the sort of idea that corrodes the political process.  And to some extent this is true.  Majority parties rule politics.  The dream of Mr. Smith in Washington is a fantasy.  The fact that the idea of the collective overpowering the individual is anathema to the American spirit does not purify the process.  Political reality is still reality, whether accepted or ignored.  Most citizens have chosen the latter, to the peril of this nation.

Congressional majorities control the means to affect change within this country.  They form the backbone of the agenda of an allied executive or fortify against a president as the loyal opposition.  Legislation will be passed or blocked based upon the disposition of the party in power.  This power exists due to the structure of congress that effectively determines that the majority party will dictate policy:

“Members of Congress serve on a number of committees and subcommittees. Committees are sometimes called little legislatures because of the influence they wield. These committees do most of the legislative work in Congress and therefore have great power in determining which bills get reviewed and in shaping the laws that are passed. Only after a committee has reviewed a bill does the whole body deliberate and vote on it. The committee system allows Congress to operate more efficiently through division of labor and specialization.” 

I understand that this can be extremely dry information that creates even more resistance to the electoral process. However, the notion that the party trumps the person in the voting process is essential to making informed decisions at the polls.  The idea that voters are not simply voting for the person they see in the ads but also for the party behind the scenes adds significant depth to the process.

Party trumps person as a concept simplifies voting decisions.  It means that people can look beyond single issues to the process that will take place after election day.  The hollow nature of campaign ads will emerge; the vapid claims possess no truth about the danger of what will happen if an opponent is elected.  Voters can guide themselves based upon the objectivity of the structure of our political system, no longer blindly led by their fears of the evil Republicans and feckless Democrats.  Understanding concepts like “party trumps person” is how voters become informed and regain control of the political process.

All information on the makeup of Congress is from Sparknotes.com, click here

This post contains a general description of the political idea known as Party Trumps Person.  I first learned of this concept from Mike Rosen of 850 KOA, and from what I have heard and read he is the only one who uses the PTP name for this concept.  All references to that idea were learned from him.  Thank you.

State and Marriage

I-DO-Marriage-Series

Go together like a horse and carriage

The United States Supreme Court recently rendered a decision not to hear cases (a decision not to make a decision) regarding challenges to the implementation of marriage by two individuals of the same gender, aka gay marriage.  The Court’s refusal to grant a Writ of Certiori allows five earlier appellate court rulings to stand, acknowledging a constitutional right to marriage for hetero- and homosexuals alike.

This un-ruling will effectively put to pasture any further hope of maintaining marriage as an exclusive right for “traditional” couples.  Soon enough, this on again off again social issue will pass from controversy becoming both a victory and a lost cause, most likely remembered alongside the bathroom signs stating “For Colored Only”.  Like it or not, gay marriage is here and here to stay.  It will become established law as this (in)decision by the Court moves these marriages into the realm of de facto legality, with actual legislation soon to follow.  Regardless of the morality supporting the cause and leaving aside any religious objections, this is the correct decision (or correct lack of a decision) as framed within the social construct that is our pseudo-statist existence of excessively intrusive government interference.  This is the correct decision because the people, gay and straight alike, have allowed our most intimate relationships to fall victim to the manipulations of the state.

Before Facebook made all aspects of life property of the public domain, it was decided that the state has a vested interest in the relationship status of the citizenry insofar as marriage is concerned.  Taxes, housing, banking, welfare benefits and health care are all dependent on the status of ’S’ or ‘M’.  Once the relationship itself became “married” to the state, the nature of marriage transformed from a private union to a “partnership” of sorts between the two individuals, historically one man and one woman, madly in love…and the powers that be.

Today, marriage is a highly regulated practice and only specific individuals can engage in the institution.  Multiple partners (more than two) is deemed unacceptable as is marriage among closely related family members. The impenetrable bond between a man and his dog cannot extend to marriage and I cannot marry either of my cats.  I love my cats.  I do not want to marry either one (how could I choose??) but the point is that I am not allowed to marry them.  Why not?  By what logical sense should this limitation apply to free individuals in the land of liberty?

The fact is that despite any moral or practical objections to the scenarios above, we can’t marry our furried friends because the state says we can’t.  The decision about who may marry does indeed have some basis in morality but laws are composed of rules and specific definitions.  Moral behavior takes a backseat, legally speaking, to prevailing law and it is that law that lies at the forefront of the current debate concerning the definition of marriage.

Marriage has traditionally been known as the union of one man and one woman.  This definition is acknowledged by both church and state, the institutions involved in establishing a marriage.  The argument for this traditional view has been that marriage is a state of being with this very specific definition.  For most of history this has been the case.  But times, and definitions change.  The role of the judiciary to interpret law places this issue into the purview of the court.  The adaptive element of the Constitution allows the amendment process to make changes to existing law, in effect changing the definition of what was previously legally established.  Because the citizenry has permitted the interests of the state to infect the institution of marriage, the state may now establish what the definition of marriage is as a relationship status.

There ought to be no compulsion on any church to acknowledge or perform any marriage that conflicts with religiously held beliefs.  However, churches are ubiquitous private institutions that no individual is compelled to attend.  Obedience to the state, and participation in governmental activities like tax season, is a requirement of all citizens.  Churches can maintain private beliefs but the state’s mandates constitute the law of the land to which we must publicly defer.

Simply put, the state will determine with whom I am permitted to enter into the union of marriage.  Government has that power because it has either been given or taken (probably a little of both).  Either way, the sleepy electorate has allowed this most sacred bond between individuals to become corrupted by the most devious and impersonal relationship of all, between an individual and the faceless, nameless state.  Due to the public interest that now exists concerning marriage, we have essentially abdicated our right to personally define this personal relationship.

For better, or worse, marital bliss is shackled to the interference of the powers that be.  Health benefits, end-of-life decision making, property rights, et al. demonstrate the expanse to which marital status is affected by government. This modern day jus prime noctis has the power to approve your marriage or, more broadly and disturbingly, determine if your relationship constitutes a marriage at all.

An Education in Rebellion

Student-Protest-US-History-7Crayola colored cardboard signs adorned with bland, opaque rhetoric meant to embolden the civil disobedient in you.  Matriculated, misguided minions manipulated into ditching an education in order to protest in the name of freedom.  The goal being, that they may learn “unpurified, uncensored” US history in the classes that they are skipping.  A fawning media encouraging the future Gandhi Thoreaus to speak Truth to Power, demonizing the constitutionally empowered (Art 9 Sec. 15 of CO Constitution empowers school boards to take responsibility for curriculum) and ELECTED, conservative school board and its job to take responsibility for curriculum. An entitled teachers union, willfully blind to the value of a pay for performance system; deaf to the calamitous crash of fiscal reality.  Ignorant parents.  Naive teachers…  And community organizing rabble rouser Saul Alinsky maniacally laughing whilst his fingertips touch, framing a fiendish smile.

Here is a video of students explaining the protest.  Please watch this as it really exposes the naive mindset of the students: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0lAX5OuIoo

What the ongoing protests in the school district of Jefferson County Colorado amount to is that one side won an election, which means the other side lost.  This is the fallout.  The voters in Jefferson County chose to elect a slate of conservative candidates who promised to implement new policies, contrary to those supported by the previous board and the activist teachers union.  The new school board, taking its constitutional powers seriously, has created a PROPOSAL (not a law or act of some conservative, vengeful God as one might think after witnessing the protests and hearing or reading media accounts) to create a panel entrusted to make decisions regarding curriculum, in this case what materials will be included in the advanced placement course on the history of the United States.  This review is a direct response to the proposed curriculum for AP US history by the College Board.  Supposedly the College Board values input from local school boards regarding curriculum.  However, the perspective of the College Board cannot withstand the influence of the all too familiar “blame America first” crowd that dominates modern academia.  Here is a statement made about the goals of the review board that has caused much controversy:

Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.

Meanwhile, union supporting activists, conflating different issues, have engaged and manipulated the sympathies of the naive student body to create the illusion of kids protesting in the name of their own education.

Read the actual board proposal here

Make no mistake.  The union goons have an endgame to oust the current school board, repatriating members “bought and paid for” and entirely sympathetic to the agenda of the teachers union.  The faux issue of censored history is but smoke and mirrors.  The students hardly grasp the causes that they are being used to support.  Ironically, the Denver Post notes that the movement began on September 19 when 50 teacher skipped out on work to protest a proposal requiring effective, successful results in order for teachers to receive a raise in pay.  This pay for performance system directly opposes the classic, union supported algorithm where everyone with X amount of years on the job and Y amount of degree training receives Z dollars regardless of whether or not they give a damn about the job.  The security blanket of tenure further solidifies teacher pay and job security, insulating teachers from the consequences of poor behavior and on the job performance.  It is astounding and yet entirely predictable that the teachers union, who ostensibly values students and education above all else, would use these kids as misguided pawns in a struggle against the democratic process, as evidenced by the voter supported actions of an ELECTED school board.

This ELECTED school board and the proposal for review seek to implement a balanced approach to US history while promoting national pride and good citizenship.  No one seeks to ignore the civil rights movement, slavery, or the Trail of Tears.  Those are all vital components of our history that document dark times.  This history also demonstrates the ability of our nation to overcome.  What is to be avoided in the AP curriculum is the omnipresent tendency of leftist doctrine such as marxist Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, still used as an objective textbook, that dwell upon the negative aspects of the United States.  “It’s very difficult, given the dominance of liberal perspectives in college and high school history departments, for faculty committees to avoid unintentionally muting, eliding, or obfuscating the perspectives of the right,” Trevor Packer, senior vice president of the College Board.

A proper education encourages students to develop ideas and discover the truth in all things.  Mentors along the way, parents, coaches and teachers, are charged to present information and nurture the desire to learn, not indoctrinate young minds with a leftist leaning liberal “curriculum” that portrays our country as an evil, imperialistic nation empowered by white privilege.  There are certainly elements in our history that fit that description, but it is not the entire story.  These students want to do ‘right’, as evidenced by their passion for justice.  However, inexperience in politics and controversy has allowed for misguided, misplaced faith in “good natured” educators with union ties.  The good intentions of the students make them unwitting supporters of a biased anti-Americanized curriculum.  This is, ironically, tragically, what the civil disobedience that these students so prize is meant to stand against.  Educationally speaking, they are working towards their own demise.

When taught, history should be a balancing act.  The United States has been the greatest national force for good that the world has ever known.  The Last Best Hope for mankind on Earth.  This is where the world looks when the lights go out everywhere else.  Our story is dominated by a narrative that should be a positive source for pride, despite the negative, undeniable acts of shame.  Students should hear this side of history and be encouraged to be a part of that narrative for the future.  It is in the knowledge of their own heritage, history and culture, that students will become empowered to affect the future and in so doing, shape history for the curriculum of future students.